Vertigo refers to a sensation that your environment is spinning around in circles, and you might lose balance and fall. When you have vertigo, objects may suddenly appear skewed, or if they are moving and you may feel off-balance and dizzy. Some people also experience nausea and vomiting. The interesting thing about vertigo is that it is not a disease in itself. In fact, Greater New Orleans vertigo specialists address vertigo by treating the underlying condition. Here is a look at some of these vertigo-causing conditions and how they can make life unbearable if left untreated.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, or BPPV, is the most common cause of vertigo. Currently, medical specialists are unclear as to what causes it, but it is more common in old age. BPPV is characterized by spinning dizziness that occurs when your brain receives inaccurate signals from your ears. This happens when the calcium carbonate crystals in structures in your ears called otolith organs become dislodged and fall into the canals. Typically, these crystals rub against the sensory hairs in your ear when you move, causing miscommunication. BPPV vertigo often lasts about 60 seconds and can be accompanied by nausea. It may also happen when you turn over in bed, sit up, or lie down.
Meniere’s disease is another common cause of vertigo. This condition causes fluid buildup inside the ear, which leads to sudden-onset dizzy spells. Sometimes, the vertigo is accompanied by ringing in the ears or tinnitus, a feeling of fullness in the ear, and fluctuating hearing loss. Meniere’s disease is more prevalent between the ages of 40 and 60 and, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, affects about 615,000 people in the US. Like BPPV, doctors do not know what causes this condition except that it may stem from an autoimmune reaction, viral infection, or blood vessel constriction. It may also run in families.
Labyrinthitis refers to an infection-caused problem in the inner ear. When you get an ear infection, your inner ear and nerves may get inflamed, leading to balance problems. This is especially true when the infection occurs in the labyrinth where your vestibulocochlear nerve is located. This nerve communicates head motion, position, and sound to your brain. Consequently, its inflammation can cause problems like hearing loss, tinnitus, vision changes, ear pain, headaches, and vertigo.
Vestibular neuritis is the inflammation of the vestibular nerve. It shares similar properties with labyrinthitis but does not affect your hearing. Usually, patients with this condition experience severe nausea and blurred vision alongside vertigo.
Cholesteatoma is a medical condition characterized by benign skin growth that develops in the middle ear. It is usually caused by repeated ear infections and can cause hearing loss, dizziness, and vertigo. Because the growth develops behind the eardrum, the cholesteatoma can damage the bony structures in the middle ear. This is what may cause hearing loss.
Get Your Vertigo Symptoms Diagnosed Today
Vertigo causes you to suddenly feel like the room is spinning, even when nobody else feels the same. This can be unsettling, more so when it worsens when you move your head. To help restore order to your life, ENT specialists diagnose and treat the cause of vertigo. They perform tests to determine what is causing this symptom, then provide treatment to relieve it and other signs like dizziness. If you have experienced multiple episodes of vertigo recently, call a specialist to get a proper diagnosis today.